By Soulskill from Slashdot's from-the-guy-who-made-it department
An anonymous reader writes: Thomas Haigh, writing for Communications of the ACM, has an in-depth column about Donald Knuth and the history of computer science. It's centered on a video of Knuth giving a lecture at Stanford earlier this year, in which he sadly recounts how we're doing a poor job of capturing the development of computer science, which obscures vital experience in discovering new concepts and overcoming new obstacles. Haigh disagrees with Knuth, and explains why: "Distinguished computer scientists are prone to blur their own discipline, and in particular few dozen elite programs, with the much broader field of computing. The tools and ideas produced by computer scientists underpin all areas of IT and make possible the work carried out by network technicians, business analysts, help desk workers, and Excel programmers. That does not make those workers computer scientists. ... Computing is much bigger than computer science, and so the history of computing is much bigger than the history of computer science. Yet Knuth treated Campbell-Kelly's book on the business history of the software industry (accurately subtitled 'a history of the software industry') and all the rest of the history of computing as part of 'the history of computer science.'"Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-they're-consistent department
An anonymous reader writes: On Christmas Eve, the NSA quietly dropped 12 years worth of internal reports on surveillance that may have broken laws, including reports that were illegally withheld and the subject of a FOIA lawsuit in 2009. "The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. ... In a 2012 case, for example, an NSA analyst 'searched her spouse’s personal telephone directory without his knowledge to obtain names and telephone numbers for targeting,' according to one report (PDF). The analyst 'has been advised to cease her activities,' it said. Other unauthorized cases were a matter of human error, not intentional misconduct. Last year, an analyst 'mistakenly requested' surveillance 'of his own personal identifier instead of the selector associated with a foreign intelligence target,' according to another report." Here's there list of reports going back to 2001.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's write-once-run-somewhere department
writes: A new programming language out of MIT, called Ur/Web, provides a way for developers to write pages as self-contained programs. It incorporates many of the most widely-used web technologies, freeing developers from working with each language individually. Ur/Web's author, Adam Chlipala, an MIT computer science assistant professor, will present his work next month at the Association for Computing Machinery's Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages. He says, "In Ur/Web, everything is based on transactions, where a single client request is handled by what looks like an uninterrupted execution of a single function. The language implementation has optimizations in it to support running many requests in parallel, on real servers. But the programmer can pretend everything is a transaction and think in a simpler concurrency model."Read Replies (0)
By samzenpus from Slashdot's back-again department
An anonymous reader sends word that Rackspace has recovered from a severe distributed denial of service attack
. "Over on the company's Google+ page Rackspace warned of 'intermittent periods of latency, packet loss, or connectivity failures when attempting to reach rackspace.com or subdomains within rackspace.com.' The company's status report later confirmed it had '... identified a UDP DDoS attack targeting the DNS servers in our IAD, ORD, and LON data centers [North Virigina, Chicago and London]. As a result of this issue, authoritative DNS resolution for any new request to the DNS servers began to fail in the affected data centers. In order to stabilize the issue, our teams placed the impacted DNS infrastructure behind mitigation services. This service is designed to protect our infrastructure, however, due to the nature of the event, a portion of legitimate traffic to our DNS infrastructure may be inadvertently blocked. Our teams are actively working to mitigate the attack and provide service stability.'"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's right-under-our-very-noses department
writes In addition to The Ghost of Steve Jobs, The Codecracker, a remix of 'The Nutcracker' performed by Silicon Valley's all-girl Castilleja School during Computer Science Education Week earlier this month featured a Bubble Sort Dance. Bubble Sort dancing, it turns out, is more popular than one might imagine. Search YouTube, for example, and you'll find students from the University of Rochester to Osmania University dancing to sort algorithms. Are you a fan of Hungarian folk-dancing? Well there's a very professionally-done Bubble Sort Dance for you! Indeed, well-meaning CS teachers are pushing kids to Bubble Sort Dance to hits like Beauty and a Beat, Roar, Gentleman, Heartbeat, Under the Sea, as well as other music.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's no-fun-for-you department
writes Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network [were] down this morning, apparently due to a denial-of-service attack. The notorious hacking group Lizard Squad — which already carried out earlier attacks on Microsoft and Sony — has claimed responsibility on Twitter for these latest outages. While the group's role in all of this remains unconfirmed, it's worth noting that the group threatened last week to take down Xbox Live and PSN, according to Business Insider. And again, Lizard Squad has already proven it can successfully pull off such attacks, not to mention other malicious pranks.
Whatever the cause, the timing is obviously terrible: Plenty of people surely received one of the two consoles as Christmas presents today, while many more gamers would have happily spent the afternoon in front of the TV. In the meantime, both Sony and Microsoft have acknowledged the problem, with Sony issuing a tweet and Microsoft posting a message on its support website: "We're working to address this as quickly as we possibly can," reads its status website. "Thanks for your patience, Xbox members." In an email, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment further or say when the company expects to restore service. We've also asked Sony to comment and will update this post if and when it does.
The Xbox Live status page
says service remains "limited," and the Playstation Network is listed as offline
.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's nostalgia-for-war-porn department
writes Kitsap Sun reports at Military.com that the USS Ranger, a 1,050-foot-long, 56,000-ton Forrestal-class aircraft carrier, is being towed from the inactive ship maintenance facility at Puget Sound for a 3,400-mile, around-Cape Horn voyage to a Texas dismantler who acquired the Vietnam-era warship for a penny for scrap metal. "Under the contract, the company will be paid $0.01. The price reflects the net price proposed by International Shipbreaking, which considered the estimated proceeds from the sale of the scrap metal to be generated from dismantling," said officials for NAVSEA. "[One cent] is the lowest price the Navy could possibly have paid the contractor for towing and dismantling the ship."
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